NYC’s job market roars back, surpasses level before COVID pandemic lockdowns: data

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New York City’s job market has roared back from the dark days of the COVID pandemic, according to the latest federal data.

It took nearly four years, but January’s Big Apple non-farm payroll employment payroll came in at 4,737,500 jobs — surpassing the February 2020 total by almost 28,000, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed.

New York City boasts more workers than it did before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to newly released federal data. Mirko Vitali –
Subway ridership is still below pre-pandemic levels as are office occupancy rates. Stephen Yang

The number of health care and social assistance positions increased by 15% and 23%, respectively, from January 2020 to January of this year, according to the data, which was first reported Friday by Bloomberg News.

The data also shows a slight uptick in the number of jobs in finance and private educational services.

But the city saw declines in jobs in manufacturing, retail, and arts and entertainment, the data showed.

While the overall outlook was positive, it was tempered by the fact that city’s recovery rate lags behind the rest of the country, which surpassed its pre-pandemic employment level in June 2022.

As of January, non-farm payroll employment in the city came in at 4,737,500 jobs — surpassing the February 2020 total by nearly 28,000 jobs. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The city suffered from an exodus of workers who were shut out of offices and businesses in the spring of 2020. AFP via Getty Images

Nonetheless, New York’s non-farm jobs recovery beat out other cities that were hit hard by remote work and pandemic-era shutdowns, including Washington, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The number of non-farm jobs in the nation’s capital was down by 4.8% in January compared to February 2020 while the San Francisco-San Mateo County area was lagging behind by 2.9%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The city still faces challenges in getting its employees back into offices.

According to statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, trains have gotten back to roughly 68% to 72% of their pre-pandemic ridership.

Data collected by the Partnership for New York City last fall indicated that office occupancy was at 57% on the average weekday — up from 49% in January of last year and up 44% compared to September of 2022.

But pandemic-era trends continue to hamper the city’s recovery.

According to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau, the New York metropolitan area lost 65,000 residents in 2023.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City has lost more than half a million people. Taidgh Barron/NY Post

Since the start of the pandemic in April 2020, New York City has last more than half a million residents.

Other large cities that have been hampered by quality of life concerns including rising crime, homelessness and increased cost of living, including Los Angeles and Chicago, have also lost residents.

LA shed 71,000 people last year while Chicago, the nation’s third most populous metro area, lost 16,600 people.

The biggest beneficiaries of the population shift are towns in Texas, led by Dallas-Fort Worth and the Houston metro area.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw its population grow by 152,598 people last year while Houston’s population added 139,789 residents, according to the US Census.

Other sunbelt cities that have seen population booms at the expense of cold-weather, high-tax locales include Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Charlotte, Austin, Phoenix, San Antonio and Miami.

The latest Census figures were cited by Bloomberg News.

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